Behind the order counters of quick service restaurants (QSRs), digital menus have been steadily replacing print for three simple reasons: time, budget and flexibility.

Digital menus’ higher upfront costs are lower than the aggregate ongoing costs of having new menus printed and installed. Updating paper or plastic menus can take days or even weeks. Digital menu displays give QSRs newfound flexibility: the ability to make changes in seconds and even automate what appears on screens. That’s just one of many ways going digital streamlines QSR operations.

Supported by a solid digital signage content management system (CMS), restaurant operators can put the right content on their screens to match the dominant customer profile and time of day, drive average and incremental sales and make people want to come back again.

Doing the basics

Good CMS software makes it easy to do the mission-critical basics of digital menus, such as:

  • Scheduling menus by dayparting so that certain items appear only during a defined time window
  • Adding videos and animations to time- and date-specific promotions on new products and higher-margin impulse items
  • Limiting controls and permissions so a QSR chain can schedule and maintain brand messaging continuity at all of its locations while providing local owner-operators some ability to make content updates location-specific

Strong technical foundation

Mission-critical menu board systems need to be always on and accurate. That requires a strong technical foundation that makes the most of the latest computing advances and also works with legacy systems.

Many QSR chains are now opting for smart displays like Samsung’s SMART Signage series that have media players and an operating system built in. The all-in-one design removes the need — and cost — of an external media player, as well as various cables and connectors that often become points of failure and maintenance headaches.

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Ideally, a smart display manufacturer should have a partner ecosystem populated by a variety of content management software partners that support the all-in-one platform and are optimized for tasks like QSR menus.

While most CMS software platforms can do the basics of posting and updating menus, more sophisticated platforms automate much of the process. If a price changes in the operator’s point-of-sale (POS) system, it changes on menu screens. Automated smart scheduling can also trigger prebuilt end-of-day promotions on expiring items.

Smart displays are also designed to work with the menu board systems QSRs already have in place. That means all the screens can be refreshed across a chain — either by using the embedded system-on-chip (SoC) or by using the display signal from external media players (like PCs) already in use. Operators can adopt a fully smart system as external players “age out” and are progressively consolidated onto a single hardware platform.

Serving a peace of mind

Samsung’s QSR-focused technology suite for menu displays has seen heavy adoption both at the order counter and in drive-thru lanes, where super-bright ruggedized outdoor screens greet and guide motorists.

Samsung SMART Signage displays are all-in-one devices with just one cable, removing the usual back-end tangle. That both speeds up and tidies installs, but more importantly, it minimizes the points of failure that can lead to screens malfunctioning.

Problem-solving with MagicINFO

Most commercial display manufacturers either have no in-house CMS software or offer an entry-level CMS meant for small, budget-constrained business owners, but Samsung has been developing, growing and evolving its commercial digital signage software for more than 12 years.

The multimodule software platform, Samsung MagicINFO, competes favorably with the top independent CMS software providers. Its advantage to business partners and end users, in addition to price point, is its emphasis on delivering a cohesive, ready-made CMS. MagicINFO is also the first solution in the signage industry to acquire both the ISO27001 and ISO27701 certifications, which provides the highest level of security against cyberattacks.

Every Samsung smart display ships with MagicINFO CMS Player software, optimized for the media player’s operating system (OS) and the display hardware. Third-party CMS software can be adapted to run on smart displays, but MagicINFO is native to Samsung smart screens, which minimizes the likelihood of technical issues.

MagicINFO also has an opt-in Samsung Remote Management Solution software module that’s highly configurable, designed to maximize uptimes and ensure customers can always view and order from menus and promotion screens. The solution makes it possible to monitor, manage, troubleshoot and remotely remedy hundreds or even thousands of deployed screens from a central desktop at once. Users can even sync MagicINFO with existing management software and enable advanced device health checks and firmware target updates.

Monitoring tasks and costly on-site repair and maintenance calls are minimized through monitoring and hardware control tools that allow operators to be made aware of errors, diagnose the issues and make most fixes remotely. The secure solution also allows operators to change settings and make software updates without going on site.

Operators can also get support directly from Samsung through the MagicINFO Maintenance program — a subscription service that provides rapid access to a dedicated IT team. Subscribers can access detailed documentation and a rich knowledge hub with everything from the fundamentals to programming instructions and sample code.

Samsung also offers businesses the W player API to unlock real-time web content modification for more responsive updates and for immediate use on the display. Users can choose between modifying HTML content using the web author and API guide or updating external data via the UDP port or Datalink to change elements such as POS data and order confirmation displays.

Success is on the (digital) menu

Order menus are as fundamental to QSR operations as the grills, fryers and POS terminals. Having a powerful CMS to keep them accurate, refreshed and visually engaging is an essential part of a QSR’s recipe for success.

Learn more about the hardware design of outdoor displays and why they’re the perfect fit for QSRs in this free white paper — and browse Samsung’s full line of indoor and outdoor display solutions designed with QSRs in mind.

Posts By

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes is a well-known veteran in the digital signage industry. He consults to some of the world’s largest brands on their digital signage strategy and technical needs, but also spends time mentoring start-ups. A former daily newspaper journalist, Haynes has for the past decade written a highly-respected blog about digital signage, Sixteen:Nine. Follow Dave on twitter @sixteennine

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